An apprenticeship program that aims to give ex-offenders and others who find it difficult to find employment a leg up will be resurrected, officials with the Chicago Transit Authority and the transit union announced Thursday.
Reinstatement of the program, which ended at the end of 2013, will mean employment for 65 people and possibly cleaner rail cars for commuters.
"This program provides benefits to our transit customers by supplementing the cleaning work of our permanent crews, but also provides a great benefit to our society. By getting ex-offenders into the workforce, the CTA is able to help Chicagoans increase self-sufficiency and reduce recidivism," CTA President Forrest Claypool said in a statement.
Robert Kelly, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, said he pushed to end the program to save union jobs, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Renewal of the program, combined with 200 apprentices who work on CTA buses, bring to 265 the total number of positions, officials said.
"I believe this is a win-win situation and we can now move forward," said Kelly.
Since December, riders have taken to social media with an increasing number of complaints of dirty rail cars.
"Both sides agree that this program is valuable in many ways to both workers and customers, and is worth continuing in 2014 and beyond," Claypool said.
The apprenticeship programs has provided job opportunities to more than 800 ex-offenders convicted of non-violent crimes, individuals completing drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and victims of domestic abuse, officials said.